Dominic: Improving the Quality of Backlinks

In May 2003, just a month after the Cassandra update which cracked down on web spam, Google rolled out Dominic. The additions included new bots and a change in how the search engine measured and counted backlinks, which are incoming links to a web page. This has always been a significant ranking factor, and Dominic played a considerable role in enhancing the practice of link building.

What’s It For

Google developed Dominic to supplement Cassandra’s efforts in cracking down on web spam. This time, the update focused on link building and the quality of backlinks that a website has. There were reports that the new bots integrated during this time were ineffective, though.

What Were Its Effects

Plenty of changes in Google’s algorithm were witnessed in May 2003, but the company didn’t officially announce the exact effects of Dominic. A primary observation was that new bots came to crawl the web named Freshbot and Deepcrawler, which reportedly bounced. These web crawlers are programs that automate the process of searching for keywords for indexing content. They evaluate each element of a website from the text, links, sitemaps, and HTML codes.

The algorithm update also saw a change in how Google measured and counted backlinks. It’s part of the search engine’s advocacy to rank only the most relevant websites for a particular topic. Backlinks or incoming links is a major ranking factor since having authority sites cite your page as a source is deemed as a vote of confidence on the trustworthiness and relevance of the information you posted.

Moreover, websites that conducted link building through link farms, which are web pages intended solely for linking to a target domain, were also devalued. It’s considered as a type of spamdexing, or the practice of spamming the index of a search engine.

What It Means For You

Nowadays, link building continues to be a crucial part of SEO. This process of acquiring backlinks for your website can improve your ranking on the search engine particularly when you do the best practices and avoid unethical ones like becoming a member of link farms, which may provide you with inbound links but won’t offer something of value to your readers.

Here’s how you can start an effective link building campaign:

  • Write Compelling and Informative Content
    Two of the best methods to produce compelling posts is to solve a user’s problem or share a unique perspective on a story. Of course, make sure that you include facts to support your claims.
  • Look for Guest Blogging Opportunities
    Guest blogging or guest posting is the practice of writing content that’ll be published for another website. It’s a useful link building strategy since you can provide first-hand information about your brand and what your products or services are about while ensuring that your link gets posted on an authority site.
    A primary challenge is looking for blogs that actually accept contributors. You can go to Google and type in the keyword you want to use and include the search terms “write for us” or “guest post” in your query. A list of sites that accept contributors should pop up along with their guidelines.
  • Check Your Competitors’ Backlinks
    If you think that you’ve exhausted all possible keywords and iterations that you can use for your brand, you can check out your competitors’ websites and look at their backlinks. Tools such as Ahrefs and Small SEO Tools’ Backlink Checker can give you data on the sites that are linking to your rivals. You can then do an email outreach to those blogs and ask if you can write content for them. Don’t forget to include a link to your pages.
  • Scour the Web for Broken Links
    Broken links occur when a page has been removed, or its URL has been modified. You can use them for your link building campaign by finding a broken link, rewriting the missing content, and contacting bloggers who are linking to that particular post and asking them to connect to your recreated version instead.
    It’s a win-win for you and the site owner because you did the legwork of searching for the broken link and recreating the article while they only need to do a little bit of editing on their page. Look for dead content that’s related to your brand to maintain relevance.